In a recent interview with Kris Abbey from spaandwellness.com, West14th founder Violeta Tentomas shares her journey of launching her luxe leather clothing label after moving from New York to Sydney.
Founded by Violeta Tentonmas WEST 14TH took shape in early 2012 after she gained the confidence to pursue life-long goal to start her own label. The brands aesthetics became apparent after rummaging through old sketchbooks, inspirational images, and textile swatches. Luxe leather has always Violeta’s main passion and so is the focus point for WEST 14TH. The first collection arrived to stores in February 2013.
Inspired in New York City, the range is designed in Bondi Beach, Australia. Creating modern heirlooms in small batches for the women with a slow fashion wardrobe.
Violeta’s team philosophy is to design and craft forever wardrobe staples, shared with your girlfriends and inherited by your daughters.
Since its launch the brands focus remains the same to deliver the-softest-possible, sustainable leather essentials to our customer. This is do with the support of a team of female-founded, like-minded businesses working remotely.
“Running your own business is a rollercoaster and ours at time has been fast and exciting then slow and considered. I’m grateful 8 years later we’re still around connecting with our customers and dressing her in forever essentials”
What is your inspiration behind west14th?
“I was brought up in New Jersey, so NYC was my playground leading into my professional life. For me it’s the pace of the city, the grandness and the grittiness that I love! It was so pleasing to hear the enthusiasm Australians share for NY after moving here. It was a natural choice to have New York as my muse and play a major character in the brand’s story. It’s a place that evokes joy, freedom and self-discovery hence our name having a direct reference to this city.
I am a considered shopper and feel many consumers want to buy timeless wardrobe staples to have for many years. From my perspective leather offers this investment and durability. It’s a textile that with years and wear reveals its true character and holds value. You can pass it down to a loved one or resale it, or just keep it to elevate your wardrobe for a lifetime, and so leather became our focus.”
Who has been the greatest influence on your career/business?
“I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to one person! I loved the world of fashion and business hence pursuing a career as a Fashion Buyer as it merged the two. I left a corporate role in NYC for a small boutique business in Sydney and loved the sharp contrast of business structure and quick decision making. I would probably say the women I have worked with from the start of my career to now have all played a role in shaping my business acumen and desire and ability to share my story by creating my own business.”
How has W14th been created to be a sustainable brand?
“Mindful. Purposed driven. Sustainable. These are the standards for entry to the market. I feel brands and businesses have no choice but to be mindful in all aspects of running their business. Customers will demand it and use their personal values to inform their buying decisions. If your business or brand doesn’t align with these then really there is no future for them, so the power is really in the hands of the people to buy to their values.
We take the position of sharing our sustainability-focused improvements, so our customers can use this to compare and ask other brands what they are doing. We’re only at the start of our journey to a sustainable future and feel sharing this aid our customers with awareness.”
What do you like most about what you do?
“Our customers and collaborations. I LOVE hearing direct feedback from our customers from the wonderful experiences wearing one of our staples to their improvement. I feel having that direct line to their comments influences our designs and business decisions to make sure we are placing them at the heart of our business.
Then, I love connecting with other female founders and businesses to share experiences and learnings or to create beautiful collaborations. WEST 14TH allows me to connect to a range of creatives, services and brands which I find personally fulfilling and hope we are adding value to our customers lives too. “